Date of Award

Spring 5-2015

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)



First Advisor

Dr. Graham Weir

Second Advisor

Dr. Sherrie Wisdom

Third Advisor

Dr. John Long


The special education teacher is a part of any school district and with the position comes responsibility for the teacher, building administrators, and district administrators. These school district personnel must work together to create a safe environment for all students to be successful. In 1983, the U.S. Department of Education’s report, A Nation at Risk, brought attention to the issue of retention of schoolteachers, especially those that worked with special needs students. While working as a special educator, the researcher overheard many teachers express concern about poor working conditions within their respective school districts. They expressed a lack of adequate support from building and district administrators, parents, and general education teachers. They expressed inadequate time to complete required paperwork. The researcher worked for both school districts that participated in this research project; therefore when asked, the district superintendents granted permission to conduct research within the school districts. The literature review supported the claims stated by special education teachers. When reviewing the literature, the researcher decided to add specifics on how society viewed those individuals who did not act or appear to be normal in society. There is history dating back to 10,000 B.C.E. about those with special needs. There were some very influential names and universities involved in reports of researching ways to prevent those with special needs from pro-creating. Furthermore, there were laws created that prohibited those with limited intelligence from immigrating to the United States. This research involved utilizing a free, on-line survey program. The researcher invited only active special education teachers from the two participating school districts iii to participate in the survey. The questions related to perceptions of administrator support, working conditions, and mentoring. The researcher included mentoring because it was a requirement for new teachers in Missouri. The literature suggested that new teachers left the profession early in their careers due to mentoring issues. This research study produced mixed results. The results indicated a concern regarding mentoring of new teachers. The responses from the participants suggested that there were still concerns, over thirty years after A Nation at Risk, about administrative support, working conditions, and mentoring.


Copyright 2015